Baal HaSulam, “The Love for the Creator and Love for the Created Beings”: “Here comes Hillel’s statement to the foreigner who came before him and asked to be converted, as it says in the Gemarah, When he came before Hillel, to teach him the entire Torah while standing on one foot Hillel replied, “What is hateful to you, do not do to your neighbor: that is the whole Torah while the rest is commentary; go and learn it.”
Kabbalistic terms and concepts are different from those commonly used. A “non-Jew” is one who acts for himself. A person who is not a “Jew,” “Jewish” (Yehudi), and is referred to as “non-Jewish” or the “nations of the world” is someone who does not seek unity (Yehud). The category “Israel” (ישראל) includes only those who aim “straight to the Creator” (Yashar-El – ישר – אל), to bestowal, who aim towards loving others as they love themselves, towards unification, solidarity, oneness, guarantee, and all the rest that characterizes our community and cohesion. After all, it is love for others which enables us to reach the love of the Creator.
If a person wants to rise to the rung of bestowal, the level of love for others, because it will bring him adhesion with the Creator, it means he wants to be a Jew, to turn his desire to receive for self-gratification into a desire to receive in order to bestow. Thus, everything is quite simple: To become a Jew means to correct your egoism. That is what the method requires of us. And Hillel summarized it in a few words: “Do not do to others what you don’t wish to be done to you.” It is also said that the conversant first approached another sage, Shammai, with a request to teach him to love others as he loved himself. But Shammai rejected him, because one cannot immediately “leap” to the rung of love for others. In this case, Shammai represents the left line, the Light of Hochma, the properties of judgment, whereas Hillel represents the right line, the Light of Hassadim, the property of mercy.
This implies that the principle of “do not do to others as you don’t wish to be done to you” means bestowal in order to bestow, or mercy. However, mercy contains at least two facets: prohibition and obligation.
- As for prohibition, I must constantly discern my actions: Would I suffer if this were done to me? And if yes, then I will definitely not do it to another.
- On the other hand, if I see that I could win with the help of others, should I myself offer such help to them? It turns out that the principle of “do not do to others what you would not want done to you,” in fact, obliges me to start working for the good of others, to switch all my actions to bestowal. Otherwise, I am depriving another of a chance to receive something good. And it doesn’t matter that I don’t produce this good and don’t generate it from my desire, according to the principle “love others as you love yourself.” In this case, I do not accumulate the force of bestowal in order to give it away to others. But if I see that I can prevent the “shortfall” in others, I am obliged to prevent it, and this is also due to the principle of “do not do to others what you don’t wish to be done to you.”
Thus, guarding others from harm and helping them to do good, I begin moving towards real acts of bestowal. Hillel’s principle teaches me to think and even act in this direction, but so far, not on my own initiative. I play the role of a positive factor (+) before a negative factor (-) of others. My “plus” can enter his “minus,” but only if there is a special contact “block” in the middle. This “block” depends on me: It is I who “approves” (OK) his inclusion.
Here is an example: Yesterday you lost a paycheck in the street and I found it and brought it to you. In this way, I have not done to you what I don’t wish to be done to me. But can it be considered a true act of bestowal? After all, I contributed to your receiving the amount written on the check.
Indeed, Hillel’s principle implies not only preventing others from trouble but also promoting their good, but the help derives not from my corrected desire that turned into a “generator of good” and knows how to distribute it to others. I have not transformed yet but just helped abundance to pass from its source to the “consumer,” to the destination. It was I who set this mechanism (V) in motion, who “opened the faucet.”
Therefore, my role here is not to deliver the abundance but in approving its delivery, the “transaction.” That is what I determine whether the “faucet” will open or not.
Question: How do I open this “faucet” in my ten?
Answer: By participating. I call on all the Light that Reforms. And it manifests in my guarantee.
Question: The action itself is clear, but how do I mentally accept it? After all, I’m always full of discontent.
Answer: In thought, I’m already good to another because I wish the same attitude to come from them. I think well of them, but still do not feel that it hurts me in any way; it doesn’t step on my ego since I am not working with it and don’t engage it.
Of course, I feel envy, hatred, and am driven by passions and vanity. To approve good for others is against my ego. On the contrary, I would like everyone to have less than me.
However, it does not hurt nor diminish my “fixed assets,” and therefore, I am willing to agree for another to receive what he is entitled to. After all, no one is threatening my property and to take away what is mine.
On the other hand, if I am working not just from mercy but with the intention to bestow, I am taking something away from myself and giving to the other. It is not subject to Hillel’s principle; here, we are talking about the “withdrawal from my account” according to the principle “love others as you love yourself.” Wanting to “gobble up” the whole world, I offer this world to others “on a golden platter,” canceling my self-interest, my acquisitions.
Today, all of humanity finds itself in the position of a non-Jew who approached Hillel. Whether it likes it or not, it has no other way out but to switch to the principle of “do not do to others what you don’t wish to be done to you.” We are facing this rule of Hillel’s before the intermediate stage, without which we cannot attain true love of others. “Do not do to others what you don’t wish to be done to you”; in this phrase lies our entire correction.
From the 4th part of the Daily Kabbalah Lesson 5/30/13, Writings of Baal HaSulam